- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 5, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday slammed a congressional subpoena of records from his department as politically motivated, accusing Democrats leading the investigation of “harassment.”

“We’ll obviously do all the things we’re required to do by law,” Mr. Pompeo told reporters at a press conference in Athens, Greece, noting that the State Department had officially given its “initial response” to the request Friday.

An aide for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, one of three congressional committees leading the impeachment inquiry, said in a statement that Mr. Pompeo failed to meet a Friday night deadline to produce documents required by the subpoena, multiple outlets reported.

“However, the State Department has contacted the Committees on this matter and we hope the Department will cooperate in full promptly,” the Democratic aide said in the statement.

House Democrats launched the impeachment investigation last week after the White House initially tried to block Congress from seeing a whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the U.S. intelligence community involving a July phone call between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Congress has requested documents as part of the probe from Mr. Pompeo, in addition to several other State Department employees, Vice President Mike Pence, and the White House.

Responding to the request Saturday, Mr. Pompeo accused Democrats of having “harassed and abused State Department employees” by requesting documents from them directly rather than going through the department’s lawyers, who typically handle document requests from congressional oversight committees.

“That’s harassment and I’ll never let that happen to my team,” said Mr. Pompeo.

Mr. Trump repeatedly asked Mr. Zelensky during the July phone call to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the current front-runner among candidates campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, according to a rough transcript of the conversation released by the White House.

Democrats leading the impeachment probe are examining whether Mr. Trump made the request while leveraging millions of dollars in assistance already earmarked by Congress for Ukraine, in addition to whether the White House tried to keep details about the call under wraps.

Mr. Pompeo listened live as the phone call between the U.S. and Ukrainian presidents took place, he confirmed earlier this week.

Commenting on the impeachment proceedings during the press conference Saturday, Mr. Pompeo said “there is clearly politics involved in this” and added that the Trump administration was ” incredibly focused on making sure that we worked with Ukraine in a way that was appropriate.”

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